Daily Living in Dubai
It is very important to observe the culture and laws in the UAE to avoid improper conduct and behaviour, which can otherwise lead to fines, imprisonment or deportation.
Alcohol consumption is allowed only by non-Muslims in licensed restaurants, pubs, clubs, private venues, and at home (for residents who have acquired an alcohol licence). For those living in the UAE a special licence must be obtained before purchasing alcohol from the exclusive, specialised, licensed stores. This license permits you to buy alcohol, it doesn’t allow you to carry alcohol in the car though. For this you need a special alcohol license.
Laws are even more severe regarding drugs. Trafficking, smuggling and possession (even being in transit at the airport) can lead to at least 4 years in prison and deportation. Buying and selling drugs will result in a life sentence in prison or even the death penalty.
If you have to bring prescription or over the counter drugs from your home country you will need a prior permission from the UAE Ministry of Health. If you arrive in the UAE without this permission and the required documentation, the medication will not be allowed into the UAE and you may be prosecuted under UAE law.
Drinking and driving is a no go in Dubai as in the rest of the UAE. Traffic rules have to be obeyed, speeding, tailgating, using a mobile phone or not using a seatbelt will be fined heavily and it is even possible for your car to get impounded.
Emiratis dress conservatively in traditional dress and it is very important for foreigners to dress appropriately in public places like shopping malls, restaurants and parks. Clothing should not be transparent, indecently expose parts of the body or display offensive pictures or slogans. If not dressed according to the rules, which are often displayed especially in bigger shopping malls, guards may ask you to leave. Bikinis and other swimwear are allowed at the beach, water parks, or swimming pools, but topless bathing is not. As soon as you leave the before mentioned areas you are expected to cover up again.
All religions are respected in the UAE, so the Emiratis expect the same from visitors. So be respectful to the Islamic religious values and believes and you should be fine.
If you are looking for real estate, you can choose to live in any area you wish to. There are apartments, villas either in gated communities or standing alone, furnished or unfurnished and most of them do have a swimming pool in the garden or pertain to a club within the compound or apartment block. If you want to bring pets or buy them after arrival please make sure to talk about it with your landlord, as pets are not always allowed.
If you want to have a maid you will have to sponsor her. You will have to pay for her airfares, wages and medical costs. Single men are not allowed to have a maid. In accordance with the UAE Labour Law, domestic staff are entitled to free accommodation, medical care and a return ticket to their home country once a year.This will be stated in the labour agreement which is mandatory by immigration. This labour agreement also determines the official holidays for the maid which can be switched to other days by the employer if needed.
If you respect the local laws and customs you will have a great time in Dubai. And if you decide that it is time to move on, just make sure to cancel your residency status and pay off fines and debts as you could otherwise experience problems at the airport when trying to leave.